Saying no is a tough skill to learn, but it's necessary to keep from getting overwhelmed. If you're not yet comfortable with the word "No", give yourself a fighting chance by delaying the "Yes".
Photo by sboneham
As productivity blog Levo suggests, asking someone to wait before you agree to help them out can give you the time you come up with a more polite way to decline. You also give yourself a chance to think about your own needs, rather than saying yes just because you don't want to disappoint someone else (regardless of whether you can actually pull it off):
Instead, make your default answer, "Let me check on something and get back to you." This breaks the habit of agreeing to things before you have time to really consider if you want and/or have time to do it. Plus, it gives you space to process their request and, if necessary, come up with a graceful "no".
Obviously, there are times when waiting may not be an option, but for most of the things that commonly overwhelm us, we can put it off for a bit. Ease into learning how to gracefully say no on the spot by giving yourself a buffer first.